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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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urbanism

How to Build a Smart City

We are in the midst of a historic (and wholly unpredicted) rise in urbanization. But it’s hard to retrofit old cities for the 21st century. Enter Dan Doctoroff. The man who helped modernize New York City — and tried to bring the Olympics there — is now C.E.O. of a Google-funded startup that is building, from scratch, the city of the future.

Source: freakonomics.com

Urbanism isn’t just the study of urban geography as it is, but it also looks to use ideas of design, architectural, transportation, and sustainability to create better cities.  This Freakonomics podcast looks at ways that New York City has changed, with ideas of how to start a new city being experimented with in Toronto.  This 99PI podcast looks at European urbanist ideas that shaped many cities that were damaged during WWII (part II).  Successful cities bring in more residents which bring higher housing costs–so can a city be too successful for it’s own good?  San Francisco grapples with changing economic issues as it is too expensive to hire workers to fill low-skill jobs

 

Tagsurbanism, podcast, architecturetransportation, housing, place, planning.

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What Anthony Bourdain Understood About Cities

The work of the acclaimed chef and writer, who has died at 61, provides a model for a truly inclusive urbanism based on the creativity of all human beings.

Source: www.citylab.com

At the APHG reading last week, it felt as if everyone was in shock and mourning Anthony Bourdain’s passing.  I felt so amazingly thick, but I was dying to ask "who?"  Judging by everyone’s reaction, I think I’m the only geographer who has never watched any of his shows and was feeling the shame.  I quickly checked out Parts Unknown (on Netflix) and the appeal of his work was immediately evident; it is more about place than it is strictly about the food.  Food is simply his portal into understanding the people, culture, and politics of a given place.  Some say that his approach brings an anti-colonial flair to urbanism and travel, but as I’m a newbie to his work, I’m just going to start appreciating it now as we mourn his loss.

 

Tags: cultureworldwide, diffusion, urban, urbanism, place, food,

 colonialismvideo, media

 

 

The Geography of AC

“The modern built environment in the United States is now totally dependent on air conditioning. A lot of our buildings would be uninhabitable in the summer without AC, and all of the electricity needed to keep it running.”

Source: 99percentinvisible.org

Like so many 99 percent invisible podcasts, this blends urban design, social geography, local history in a way that deepens our understanding of place. Air conditioning has powerfully reshaped so many geographic patterns that many of ways.  Some mentioned in this podcast include: a) the rapid expansion of the Sun Belt, b) less climatically and regionally distinctive architecture can now be found in the cultural landscape, and c) an enormous amount of energy is consumed to maintain our hyper-cooled buildings (the U.S. now uses as much electricity for air conditioning as it did for all purposes in 1955). 

 

Tagspodcast, architecturehousing, landscape, place planning.

Braves’ New Ballpark Is An Urban Planner’s Nightmare 

“The Braves chose to relocate to Cobb County from downtown Atlanta’s Turner Field after only 19 years because of a $400 million public subsidy from Cobb taxpayers. The costs are almost certain to balloon thanks to some significant fiscal buffoonery on the part of Cobb officials, including a lack of a comprehensive transportation plan and forgetting to ask the Braves to pay for traffic cops. Attached to SunTrust Park like a Cinnabon-scented goiter is the Battery Atlanta, a $550M mixed-used development that looks an awful lot like a New Urbanist project, the widely criticized school of planning that is equal parts social engineering and neoliberalism. SunTrust isn’t solely accessible by car—the Braves run a stadium shuttle bus that serves a couple of outer MARTA stations—but, compared to the team’s former home, the non-motorized options are paltry.”

Source: deadspin.com

There are many great geography angles to look at this particular issue.  The scale of governance matters in creating the political context for any given situation.  In this article, we see City vs. County vs. Metropolitan regional politics jockey for position, putting the interest of their own county above that of the larger metropolitan region.  We also see competing visions of ideal urban planning (a more sprawling, automobile-centered model vs. public transit, multi-use planning that is enclosed vs. open) all layered upon racial and socio-economic context of this particular place.   

 

Tagsarchitecture, scale, sport, urban, planning, urbanism, economic.

The walkable city

How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car — which he calls “a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device” — by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.

Source: www.ted.com

In the 2017 APHG exam, there was a question that dealt with new urbanism and walkability.  This TED talk from Jeff Speck gives a good sense of what planners believe in new urbanism are trying to do (you can also watch his earlier TED talk, 4 ways to make a city more walkable). Here also is information on New Urbanism (dot org) from it’s practicioners, such as the Congress on New Urbanism.  Lastly, here is an academic article reviewing the critiques of new urbanism with rebuttals.    

 

Tagsplace, neighborhood, urban, planningtransportation, urbanism, scale, TED, video.

In the Same Ballpark

“In 1992, the Baltimore Orioles opened their baseball season at a brand new stadium called Oriole Park at Camden Yards, right along the downtown harbor. The stadium was small and intimate, built with brick and iron trusses—a throwback to the classic ballparks from the early 20th century. It was popular right from the start.

These new Populous ballparks are small and old fashioned-looking but they also feature modern amenities—comfortable seats and fancy foods. And while designed to be different, they tend to follow a similar aesthetic format, featuring a lot red brick and green-painted iron. These new parks also feature asymmetrical playing fields, which are in many cases dictated by the surrounding cityscape.”

Source: 99percentinvisible.org

This podcast is filled with important urban geographic issues: downtown revitalization, landscape aesthetics, sense of place, planning, public/private revitalization, etc.  And to boot, this podcast uses America’s pasttime to discuss these topics. I typically really enjoy the thoughtful exploration of the untold stories that make up our world found in the 99 Percent Invisible podcast.

4 ways to make a city more walkable

Freedom from cars, freedom from sprawl, freedom to walk your city! City planner Jeff Speck shares his “general theory of walkability” — four planning principles to transform sprawling cities of six-lane highways and 600-foot blocks into safe, walkable oases full of bike lanes and tree-lined streets.

Source: www.ted.com

As the 2017 APHG exam has ended, some people have asked for more resources on new urbanism.  This TED talk from Jeff Speck gives a good sense of what planners believe in new urbanism are trying to do (you can also watch his earlier TED talk, The Walkable City).  Here is information from New Urbanism (dot org) from it’s practioners, including the Congress on New Urbanism.  Lastly, here is an academic article reviewing the critiques of new urbanism with rebuttals.  

Tagsplace, neighborhood, urban, planningtransportation, urbanism, scaleTED, video.

New Urbanism

New Urbanism is a planning and development approach based on the principles of how cities and towns had been built for the last several centuries: walkable blocks and streets, housing and shopping in close proximity, and accessible public spaces. In other words: New Urbanism focuses on human-scaled urban design.”

Source: www.youtube.com

As the 2017 APHG exam has ended, some people have asked for more resources on new urbanism.  Here is information from New Urbanism (dot org) the Congress on New Urbanism for teachers and students that are reassessing the Free Response Questions. 

 

Tagsplace, neighborhood, urban, planning, urbanism, scale

The Most Popular Running Routes in the 20 Biggest U.S. Metro Areas

These are the top running routes in the 20 biggest metro areas in the United States, according to Strava data.

Source: www.runnersworld.com

I’m a big advocate of running/mapping apps for my own personal training (I use Map My Run and Strava).  These maps were created with raw data from Strava to show the most popular urban runs in the US.   Prominent on this list are urban parks, scenic waterfronts, and retrofitted railways…in other words, successful urban planning that has help to foster a strong sense of place.

    

Tags: urban, place, neighborhood, planning, urbanism.

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